Growing a fashion brand internationally is a big step and a dream for most fashion brands. These tips will help you learn how to scale your fashion brand internationally.
What you will learn
Scaling your fashion brand internationally
Fashion wholesale has undergone some significant transformations over the past two years, and the fashion industry continues to expand and evolve. In 2023, fashion wholesale will experience challenges and opportunities that will establish new paths for this sector.
The advances in technology and digital solutions have enabled fashion brands and agencies to know their potential customers better and to communicate directly with their target customers.
E-commerce has seen major growth during the last years, and now we see more interest in wholesale and brick-mortar from e-commerce brands.
Online and offline are going hand in hand with the expansion of fashion companies.
Embrace a green trend in fashion
The biggest word in the fashion industry is sustainability and transparency of the production process. The awareness in the market presents an array of possibilities for businesses entering the fashion wholesale industry.
Fashion agencies are looking to provide transparency in the production process of the brands they offer. An important message from any new clothing brand needs to be their apparel manufacturing is traceable and sustainable.
A great example of a brand that has integrated sustainability and technology into its brand DNA, is Sheep Inc. This fashion brand has found its niche and is building a successful e-commerce and wholesale business.
With a tag on the garment, the customer can follow the entire production process that was followed to make the item. This in combination with a strong brand story and online marketing makes a brand like Sheep Inc interesting for the marketplace.
This is a great example to make your brand stand out in the crowd.
How To Grow Your Fashion Brand Internationally
Here you will find a step-by-step guide to expanding your fashion brand internationally into new markets. Based on 30+ years of experience building brands in most parts of the world, we have several tips.
Tip 1: Get your prices right
It sounds very simple, but it is often difficult to have a pricing strategy that is profitable and products that are commercially priced. This is especially challenging for a startup brand, due to the lower production quantities.
We often see brands that want to grow from e-commerce to wholesale, having issues with their margins and prices. Many brands do not include all costs in calculating their wholesale prices. Retailers have a markup of anywhere between 2.2 and 3, this is depending on where they are located.
For example, in North America retailers work with lower margins than in Europe, because their retail prices are excluding VAT/HST. While in Europe and especially mid and Northern Europe a retail markup of 2.7 -3.0 is common. Calculating back from retail price to wholesale to cost price gives you the perfect target cost price for your garment.
Why is pricing so important?
When you know where to place your fashion brand in the market, you know your brand positioning. You will find out who your competitors are and to which other brands you sell well next. This brings us to tip two: do in-depth market research.
Tip 2: Understanding the market
Before entering any new country, you need to understand your market and where your brand is best placed in this new territory. We would advise focusing on market requirements, your brand potential in the territory, retail landscape, and your target group.
Knowing and understanding the regulations of import and labeling will save you a lot of problems further ahead. For example, in Canada, all labeling needs to be bilingual, if not complied, you risk that your products will be taken out of your retail stores.
Local trade organizations or fashion councils have up-to-date information about these requirements. Knowing your target audience, their core values, and how to resonate with them will get your brand in the hands of the correct wholesale partner.
Many brands enter a new market without visiting them beforehand. Seeing and understanding the retail landscape will help you develop a better-suiting strategy and, if your brand has any real potential in the market segment you are aiming for.
Tip 3: Master your brand identity
A brand without branding is not a brand. Brand identity needs to be powerful and understandable. Just having a clothing line with a logo is not sufficient for brand recognition.
Make your brand unique – it will help to stand out in the crowd. Connect your brand DNA throughout your company from clothing design to imagery, to communication, to shopping experience online and offline.
You will need an inspiring narrative around your brand that resonates with your audience and create emotional connection with your customer. Who wouldn’t love a captivating story?
Tip 4: Stay relevant to your audience
Create relevant content to enhance brand awareness and drive traffic to your online store. When using social media, not only focus on the awareness for your brand online, but support your wholesale partner in building brand awareness in the target market.
At FNAD, we would suggest using a newsletter when the brand and wholesaler announce their partnership. Buyers and owners of fashion businesses are making their budgets before the buying season and are more likely to have a budget for your fashion brand when they are informed in advance.
When entering a new market with your new sales agency, develop a strategy to market your clothing brand.
Tip 5: Organization is key
For the brand’s consistency, a fashion brand is required to be organized and able to give the wholesaler support. This is the only way to build trust and seamlessly improve the new partnerships with your wholesaler and retail clients.
With your retailers gaining more confidence in your brand, the sales will go up every season. For example, in general, a retailer, small business, or major department store gives the first season a test order – they are looking if the brand delivers as promised and if the quality is as expected.
When a brand meets these expectations, future orders will increase. It is vital for brands not only to have great branding and wonderful products, but also to be the brand that retailers can count on. Big number sales do not happen overnight – it is built throughout seasons, based on keeping promises.
Bonus tip: Find valuable partnerships
In the current day of wholesale, a brand and sales agency work together. A growth plan is developed together with an eye on multichannel sales, cross-promotion, measurable growth in points of sales, and brand consistency. For you to grow a fashion brand internationally, both parties should be willing to invest, be aligned, and have patience.
At FashionNet Anton Dell, we say: plant trees, not flowers